How do innovations travel? In people’s mind. Kenya Learning Route on Innovating Livestock Marketing, day 1

by Silvia Sperandini and Elaine Reinke

“We are the birds who letting innovations travel around the world”, is how Diana Puyo, PROCASUR Africa Coordinator, yesterday opened the Learning Route on innovative livestock marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa organized by PROCASUR in partnership with IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Division and technical support of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division.

22 “Routeros”, route participants from various IFAD-supported projects and implementing partners, are now gathered for an intense 12-day journey across various districts and communities in Kenya. The majority of them comes from Sudan but the group also includes participants from Somalia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, the US and Europe, who are all connected through the common interest of improving their practice in the livestock sector and become agents of change in their countries by bringing new ideas and successful solutions back to their projects, organizations and communities packaged in concrete innovation plans they will develop during the route.

Over the next days, the route participants are the knowledge seekers who will learn directly from rural communities and practitioners – the local champions. The trainers probably never went to school, and are unlikely to read or write, but they are the real experts since faced similar challenges and identified solutions to overcome them.

The first day in Nairobi was preparatory for the field experiences but already stimulated a lot of rich and lively discussions , fueled by group of Kenyan livestock experts who presented an overview of the national livestock industry. Now many questions are on the table and are waiting to be answered by the good practices that will be visited: What are effective ways to bridge the gap between markets and producers? How to meet market information needs of different stakeholders, and how to improve effectiveness and performance of development projects aimed at livestock marketing?

In the next days the participants will visit the following host cases:
- Siana Masaai Women and Kilitome Market Access Committees
- Using M- PESA as an Innovative Livestock Marketing Tool for Pastoralists
- Linking Community Slaughter Houses to Urban Markets
- Anolei Camel Milk Cooperative
- Meru Goat Breeders Association

Tomorrow will be our first encounter with some of the rural champions who will be our trainers during this route … don’t miss it. Remember, innovations travel in people’s mind – stay tuned join our journey!